As batters the Pittsburghs were successful. As fielders they were superior to the team that won the championship. As run-getters they were not the equal of the Giants. In brief, fewer opportunities were accepted to make runs by a much larger percentage than was the case with the New York club, which can easily be verified by a careful study of the scores of the two teams as they opposed one another, and as they played against the other clubs of the league.
It took more driving power to get the Pittsburgh players around the bases than it did those of New York. In tight games, where the advantage of a single run meant victory, the greater speed of the New York players could actually be measured by yards in the difference of results. Naturally it was not always easy for the Pittsburgh enthusiasts to see why a team, which assuredly fielded better than the champions and batted almost equally as well, could not gain an advantage over its rivals, but the inability of Pittsburgh Base Ball patrons to comprehend the lack of success on the part of their team existed in the fact that they had but few opportunities, comparatively speaking, to watch the New York players and found it difficult to grasp the true import of that one great factor of speed, which had been so insistently demanded by the New York manager of the men who were under his guidance.
Pittsburgh had an excellent pitching staff. Even better results would have been obtained from it if Adams had been in better physical condition. An ailing arm bothered him. While he fell below the standard of other years, one splendid young pitcher rapidly developed in Hendrix, and Robinson, a left-hander, with practically no major league experience, pushed his way to a commanding position in the work which he did.
Until the Giants made their last visit to Pittsburgh in the month of August the western team threatened to come through with a finish, which would give them a chance to swing into first place during the month of September, but the series between New York and Pittsburgh turned the scale against the latter.
Fired with the knowledge that they were at the turning point in the race the New York players battled desperately with their rivals on Pittsburgh's home field and won. Even the Pittsburgh players were filled with admiration for the foe whom they had met, and while they were not in the mood to accept defeat with equanimity, they did accept it graciously and congratulated the victors as they left Pittsburgh after playing the last game of the season which had been scheduled between them on Forbes Field.
First base had long bothered Clarke. Frequent experiments had been made to obtain a first baseman, who could play with accuracy on the field and bat to the standard of the team generally. Clarke transferred Miller from second base to first and the change worked well. More graceful and more accurate first basemen have been developed than Miller, but in his first year of play at the bag he steadied the team perceptibly and unquestionably gave confidence to the other men.
But making a first baseman out of Miller took away a second baseman and second base gave Clarke more or less concern all of the season. At that, Pittsburgh was not so poorly off in second base play as some other of the teams of the senior circuit.
* * * * *
Two important factors contributed to the success of the Chicagos in 1912. For a few days they threatened to assume the leadership of the National League. With the opportunity almost within their grasp the machine, which had been patched for the moment, fell to pieces, and the Cubs, brought to a climax in their work by all the personal magnetism and the driving power of which Chance was capable, were exhausted by their strongest effort. The courage and the wish were there, but the team lacked the playing strength.
To return to the factors which contributed to the club's success. They were the restoration to health of Evers, and a complete change in the manner of playing second base, added to the consistent and powerful batting of Zimmerman. The latter led the league in batting and repeatedly pulled his club through close contests by the forceful manner in which he met the ball with men on bases.
A third contributing force, though less continuous, was the brief spurt which was made by the Chicago pitchers in the middle of the season. They were strongest at the moment that the New York team was playing its poorest game, and their temporary success assisted in pushing the Chicagos somewhat rapidly toward the top of the league. They were not resourceful enough nor strong enough to maintain their average of victories and finished the season somewhat as they had begun.
The most of Chicago's success began to date from the early part of July, when Lavender, pitching for the Cubs, won from Marquard of the Giants, who, to that time, had nineteen successive victories to his credit. Chicago continued to win, and the New York team made a very poor trip through the west.
Lavender's physical strength held up well for a month and then it became quite evident that he had pitched himself out. Then was the time that the Chicagos could have used to good advantage two and certainly one steady and reliable pitcher, who had been through the fire of winning pennants and would not be disturbed by the importance which attached to games in which his club was for the moment the runner-up in the championship race.
Chicago managed to hold its own fairly well against the New York team. Indeed, the Cubs beat the New Yorks on the series for the season, but there were other clubs, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincinnati, which won from Chicago when victories were most needed by the Cubs, and their hope to capture the pennant deserted them as they were making their last trip through the east.
The race was not without its bright side for Chicago. Even if the Cubs did finish third for the first time since Chance had been manager of the organization, it was a welcome sight to see Evers apparently in as good form as ever and Zimmerman so strong with the bat that the leadership of the batters finally returned to Chicago after it had been absent for years.
* * * * *
Cincinnati, under the management of Henry O'Day, finished fourth in the race. It was by no means a weak showing for the new manager, in view of the team which he was compelled to handle. Until the New York club played its first series in Cincinnati, which began May 18, the Reds were booming along at the top of the league, apparently with no intention that they might ever drop back. It was New York that won three out of the five games played and took the lead in the race, and when that happened Cincinnati never was in front again.
To the other managers, who had been watching the work of the Cincinnatis it was apparent that sooner or later the break would have to come for the reason that, as the season progressed, better pitching would have to be faced by the Cincinnati club, while it was doubtful whether the Cincinnati pitchers could do any better than they were doing. The manager seemed to have known this, for when the break did come and the Reds began to totter, he said in reference to their downfall that no team could be expected to win with only ordinary pitching to assist it.
In this manner Cincinnati played through the middle of the season always just a little behind most of its opponents. As the latter days of the year began to dawn the Reds began to improve and not the least of which was in the better work of the pitchers.
They did well enough to beat Philadelphia for fourth place, and while O'Day did not have the satisfaction of finding his first year as a manager generous enough to him to make him the runner-up for the championship team, he actually put his club in the first division, which is something in which many managers have failed and some of them managers of long experience.
* * * * *
Misfortune and ill luck always attaches itself in a minor degree to every team which engages in a championship contest, but most assuredly Philadelphia had more of its share of reverses through accidents to players and illness than any team of the National League. Yet the Philadelphias were courageous players from whom little complaint was heard. They took their misfortunes with what grace they could and played ball with what success they could achieve, whether they had their best team in the field or their poorest.
Strangely enough they played an important part in the results of the race. Frequently they defeated the Chicagos, all too frequently for the comfort of the Chicago Base Ball enthusiasts, and when the loss of a game or two by the Philadelphias to the Chicagos might have turned the race temporarily one way or the other, the Philadelphias, with decided conviction, refused to lose.
It may not be necessary to call attention to the fact of absolute fairness in the contests for championships in the various leagues which comprise Base Ball in its organized form. The day has passed when the Base Ball enthusiast permits his mind to dwell much upon that sort of thing, if ever he did. But if it were necessary to advance an argument as to the integrity of the sport and the high class of the men who are engaged in the summer season in playing professional Base Ball, there could be nothing better to prove that the price of victory is the one great consideration, greater than the fact of Philadelphia's success against a team which was a strong contender against that which finally won the championship.
As much as Philadelphia desired that New York should be beaten, for there was no love lost between the teams in a ball playing way, the fighting spirit and the predominant desire to add to the column of victories as many games as possible brought forth the best efforts of the team of ill fortune against Chicago and struck telling blows against Chicago's success at the most timely moments.
* * * * *
As a whole the St. Louis team did not play as well in 1912 as it did in the preceding year. There was some bad luck for St. Louis as well as Philadelphia. The players did not get started as well as they had in the previous two years. Their spring training was more or less disastrous, for they were one of the clubs to run into the most contrary of spring weather.
Perhaps the worst trouble which the St. Louis team had, take the season through from beginning to finish, was in regard to the pitchers. There were two or three young men on the team who seemed at the close of the season of 1911 to be likely to develop into high class pitchers in 1912. They pitched well in 1912 at intervals. One day it seemed as if they at last had struck their stride and the next they faltered and their unsteadiness gave their opponents the advantage which they sought.
Perhaps, if the St. Louis team had been a little stronger to batting it would have rated higher among the organization of the National League. Several games were lost which would have been taken into camp by a better display at bat. In fielding the team was much stronger and the success of the infield, combined with some excellent outfield work now and then, frequently held the team up in close battles, but when the pitchers faltered on the path the fielders were not able to bear the force of the attack.
* * * * *
For three seasons in succession Brooklyn seems to have been fated to start the season with bad luck and misfortune. The spring training trip did not bring to Brooklyn all that had been expected owing to the inclement weather.
When the team began the season at Washington Park a tremendous crowd filled the stands. Long before it was time for the game to begin the spectators became unruly and swarmed over the field. It was impossible for the ground police to do anything with the excited enthusiasts and at last the city police were asked to assist. They tried to clear the field, but only succeeded in driving the crowd from the infield. Spectators were so thick in the outfield that they crowded upon the bases and prevented the players from doing their best. For that matter the outfielders could not do much of anything.
A ground rule of two bases into the crowd was established, and the New York players, who were the opponents of Brooklyn, took advantage of it to drive the ball with all their force, trusting that it would sail over the heads of the fielders and drop into the crowd. They were so successful that they made a record for two-base hits and Brooklyn was overwhelmed.
This unfortunate beginning appeared to depress the Brooklyn team. The players recovered slightly, but had barely got into their stride again when accidents to the men began to happen. Some of them became ill, and the manager was put to his wits end to get a team on the field which should make a good showing.
Fighting against these odds Brooklyn made the best record that it could. As the season warmed into the hotter months the infield had to be rearranged. There was disappointment in the playing of some of the infielders. It was also necessary to reconstruct the outfield. Unable to get all of the men whom he would have desired the manager continued to experiment and his experiments brought forth good fruit, for unquestionably the excellent work of Moran, who played both right field and center field for Brooklyn, was a great help to the pitchers. By the time that the Base Ball playing year was almost concluded Brooklyn had so far recovered that it was able to place a better nine on the diamond than had been the case all of the year.
Boston never was expected to be a championship organization. The material was not there for a championship organization, but Boston did play better ball than in 1911 and that is to the credit of players, manager and owner. The club had changed hands, but the new owner had not been able to readjust all of the positions to suit him. He put the best nine possible in the field with what he had. Never threatening to become a championship winning team Boston played steadily with what strength it possessed and always a little better than in 1911, so that the year could not fairly be considered unsuccessful at its finish.
* * * * *
Going back to the beginning of the year and looking over the contest for the National League championship of 1912, it is not uninteresting, indeed it is of much interest to call attention to the remarkably odd record which was made by New York to win the pennant. In that record stands the story of the fight, with striking shifts from week to week.
The first game played by the Giants was against Brooklyn, as has been related, and it was won by New York and that, by the way, was the game in which Marquard began his admirable record as a pitcher for the season.
The Giants lost the next three games. Two of them were to Brooklyn and one to Boston, and the players of the New York team began to wonder a little as to what had happened to them.
Then New York won nine straight games from the eastern clubs, being stopped finally by Philadelphia on the Polo Grounds. But that defeat did not check them. They started on another winning spurt and played throughout the west without a defeat until they arrived in Cincinnati. This total of victories was nine. All of the games on the schedule were not played because of inclement weather.
Cincinnati won twice from New York and then the Giants turned the tables on the Reds, who had been leading the league. They threw them out of the lead, which they never regained, and won another succession of nine victories. That made three times consecutively that they had won a total of twenty-seven games in groups of nine, assuredly an unusual result.
Losing one game they again entered the winning class. This time they won six games in succession. Then they lost a game. After this single defeat they won but three games. Their charm of games in blocks of nine had deserted them. They were beaten twice after winning three, and Pittsburgh was the team.
Then they won another single game and immediately after that victory lost to Brooklyn. But that was the last defeat for a long time. Well into the race, with their condition excellent, and playing better ball than they had played since their wonderful spurt of the month of September in 1911, they won sixteen games in succession.
The morning of the Fourth of July dawned hot and sultry. The air was thick and muggy and without life. The Giants were scheduled to play two games that day with Brooklyn, the first in the morning and the second in the afternoon. If they won both of them they would tie a former record, which had been made by the New York team, for consecutive victories.
Perhaps it may have been reaction after the long strain of winning or it may have been an uncommonly good streak of batting on the part of Brooklyn. Surely Brooklyn batted well enough, as the morning game went to the latter team by the score of 10 to 4. In the afternoon Brooklyn again beat the Giants by the score of 5 to 2. Wiltse pitched for New York and Stack for Brooklyn.
The New York team went to Chicago and won twice. Then it lost. The fourth game was won from Chicago and then the Giants lost two in succession.
They won one game and immediately after that lost four in succession. Chicago began to have visions of winning the pennant.
From Chicago the Giants went to Pittsburgh, stood firm in a series of three games, winning two and losing one. Their next call was at Cincinnati and beginning with that series they got back to form a trifle and won five games in succession.
Returning home they were beaten on the Polo Grounds three games in succession by Chicago. After that New York settled into a winning stride again and won six games in succession. Pittsburgh came to the Polo Grounds and stopped the winning streak of the champions by defeating them three times in succession. That was a hard jolt for any team to stand. Yet the Giants rallied and won the test game of the Pittsburgh series.
It was but a momentary pause, for after another victory St. Louis beat New York. The Giants won another game and the next day lost to St. Louis. That finished the home games for New York and the team started west, facing a desperate fight. They lost the first game to Chicago, won the next and lost the third. Going from Chicago to St. Louis they won three games in succession, returning to Chicago, lost a postponed game with the Cubs.
From Chicago their path led them to Pittsburgh where they lost the first contest. Then they made the stand of the season when they beat the Pittsburghs four games in succession.
Cincinnati turned the tables on the Giants to the consternation of the New York fans and won twice, when it seemed as if the Giants were about to start on a career which would safely land the championship. The Giants returned home and beat Brooklyn in the first game and lost the second. They won the next two and then lost again. The championship was still in abeyance. Again they won and then lost to Philadelphia.
Here came another test in a Philadelphia series at Philadelphia which contained postponed games, and once more rallying with all their might, won four games and lost the last of this series of five.
Following that they won three games and then lost to St. Louis. They won three times in succession and then lost four games to Chicago and Cincinnati, but all of this time Chicago was gradually falling away because it was necessary that the Cubs should continue to win successive victories if they were to beat New York for the championship.
The Giants atoned for the four defeats at the hands of Chicago and Cincinnati by winning the next four games in succession, and while this did not actually settle the championship, that is, the definite championship game had not been played, the race was practically over and all that was left to fight for in the National League was second place, in which Chicago and Pittsburgh were most interested. The pitching staff of the Chicagos had worn out under the strain and the Cubs were beaten out by Pittsburgh.
The semi-monthly standing of the race by percentages follows:
STANDING OF CLUBS ON APRIL 30. Club. Won. Lost. PC. Club. Won. Lost. PC. Cincinnati 10 3 .769 Pittsburgh 5 7 .417 New York 8 3 .727 Philadelphia 4 6 .400 Boston 6 6 .500 St. Louis 5 8 .385 Chicago 5 7 .417 Brooklyn 4 7 .364
STANDING OF CLUBS ON MAY 15. Club. Won. Lost. PC. Club. Won. Lost. PC. New York 18 4 .810 St. Louis 10 16 .385 Cincinnati 19 5 .792 Boston 9 15 .375 Chicago 12 12 .500 Philadelphia 7 13 .350 Pittsburgh 9 12 .429 Brooklyn 7 14 .333
STANDING OF CLUBS ON MAY 31. Club. Won. Lost. PC. Club. Won. Lost. PC. New York 28 7 .800 St. Louis 20 22 .455 Cincinnati 23 17 .675 Philadelphia .14 19 .426 Chicago 19 17 .628 Brooklyn 12 22 .353 Pittsburgh 18 17 .514 Boston 13 26 .333
STANDING OF CLUBS ON JUNE 15. Club. Won. Lost. PC. Club. Won. Lost. PC. New York 37 10 .787 Philadelphia 20 24 .455 Pittsburgh 27 20 .574 St. Louis 23 31 .426 Chicago 26 21 .563 Brooklyn 16 30 .348 Cincinnati 25 23 .553 Boston 16 35 .314
STANDING OF CLUBS ON JUNE 30. Club. Won. Lost. PC. Club. Won. Lost. PC. New York 50 11 .820 Philadelphia 24 33 .421 Pittsburgh 37 25 .597 Brooklyn 24 36 .400 Chicago 34 26 .567 St. Louis 27 42 .391 Cincinnati 35 32 .522 Boston 20 46 .303
STANDING OF CLUBS ON JULY 15. Club. Won. Lost. PC. Club. Won. Lost. PC. New York 58 19 .753 Philadelphia 34 38 .472 Chicago 47 28 .627 St. Louis 34 49 .410 Pittsburgh 45 31 .592 Brooklyn 30 48 .385 Cincinnati 41 39 .513 Boston 22 59 .272
STANDING OF CLUBS ON JULY 31. Club. Won. Lost. PC. Club. Won. Lost. PC. New York 67 24 .736 Cincinnati 45 49 .479 Chicago 57 34 .626 St. Louis 41 55 .427 Pittsburgh 52 37 .684 Brooklyn 35 59 .372 Philadelphia 45 43 .511 Boston 25 66 .275
STANDING OF CLUBS ON AUGUST 15. Club. Won. Lost. PC. Club. Won. Lost. PC. New York 73 30 .709 Cincinnati 50 58 .463 Chicago 69 36 .657 St. Louis 47 60 .439 Pittsburgh 65 40 .619 Brooklyn 39 69 .361 Philadelphia 50 54 .481 Boston 28 76 .269
STANDING OF CLUBS ON AUGUST 31. Club. Won. Lost. PC. Club. Won. Lost. PC. New York 82 36 .695 Cincinnati 57 65 .467 Chicago 79 42 .653 St. Louis 53 59 .434 Pittsburgh 71 50 .587 Brooklyn 44 76 .367 Philadelphia 59 60 .496 Boston 37 84 .306
STANDING OF CLUBS ON SEPTEMBER 15 Club. Won. Lost. PC. Club. Won. Lost. PC. New York 95 40 .704 Philadelphia 63 70 .474 Chicago 83 61 .619 St. Louis 57 80 .416 Pittsburgh 82 53 .607 Brooklyn 50 85 .370 Cincinnati 68 68 .500 Boston 42 93 .311
STANDING OF CLUBS ON SEPTEMBER 30 Club. Won. Lost. PC. Club. Won. Lost. PC. New York 101 45 .692 Philadelphia 70 77 .476 Pittsburgh 91 57 .615 St. Louis 62 88 .413 Chicago 89 68 .605 Brooklyn 57 91 .385 Cincinnati 74 76 .493 Boston 42 100 .324
STANDING OF CLUBS AT CLOSE OF SEASON.
Club. N.Y. Pitts. Chi. Cin. Phil. St.L. Bkln. Bos. Won. PC. New York — 12 9 16 17 15 16 18 103 .682 Pittsburgh 8 — 13 11 14 15 14 18 92 .616 Chicago 13 8 — 11 10 15 17 17 91 .607 Cincinnati 6 11 10 — 8 13 16 11 75 .490 Philadelphia 5 8 10 14 — 11 13 12 73 .480 St. Louis 7 7 7 9 11 — 10 12 63 .412 Brooklyn 6 8 5 6 9 11 — 13 58 .379 Boston 3 4 6 11 10 10 9 — 52 .340 — — — — — — — — Lost 48 58 59 78 79 90 95 101
The Chicago-Pittsburgh game at Chicago, October 2, was protested by the Pittsburgh club and thrown out of the records, taking a victory from the Chicago club and a defeat from the Pittsburgh club.
AMERICAN LEAGUE SEASON OF 1912
BY IRVING E. SANBORN, CHICAGO.
Pre-season predictions in Base Ball do not carry much weight individually, but when many minds, looking at the game from different angles, agree on the main points there usually is good reason behind such near unanimity. Outside of Boston it is doubtful if any experienced critic of Base Ball in the country expected the Red Sox to be converted from a second division team into pennant winners in one short season. If such expectancy existed in Boston it was partially a case of the wish fathering the thought. The majority of men believed the machine with which Connie Mack had achieved two league and two world's championships was good for at least one more American League pennant. That expectation was based on the comparative youth of the important cogs in the Athletic machine. Yet this dope went all wrong. The Athletics were beaten out by two teams which were in the second division in 1911, one of them as low as seventh place.
The reason for these form reversals were several. The Boston and Washington teams improved magically in new hands, while the Athletics went back a bit, partly because of too much prosperity and partly because of adversity. Having come from behind in 1911 and made a winning from a wretched start, the Mackmen apparently thought they could do it again and delayed starting their fight until it was too late. The loss of the services of Dan Murphy for more than half of the season also was a prime factor.
The White Sox were the season's sensations both ways and for a time kept everybody guessing by their whirlwind start under new management. They walked over every opponent they tackled for the first few weeks, then began to slip and it required herculean efforts to keep them in the first division at the finish. The Chicago team always was a puzzle to all parties to the race, including itself.
From the outset there was almost no hope for the other four teams in the league. Cleveland and Detroit occasionally broke into the upper circles for a day or two in the early weeks of the season, but not far enough to rouse any false anticipations among their supporters. St. Louis and New York quickly gravitated to the lower strata and remained there, the Yankees finally losing out in their battle with the Browns to keep out of last place.
Five American League teams started the season under new managers. One of the three which began the race under leaders retained from the previous year changed horses in mid-stream. Jake Stahl, Harry Wolverton, Clark Griffith, Harry Davis and James Callahan were the new faces in the managerial gallery. Some of them were not exactly new to the job but were in new jobs. Of these Stahl, Griffith and Callahan proved successful leaders and the first named became the hero of a world's championship team when the last ball of the series was caught. Davis resigned during the season and was succeeded by Joe Birmingham, who almost duplicated the feat of George Stovall in 1911, putting new life into the Cleveland team and starting a spurt which made the race for position interesting. Wolverton stuck the season out in spite of handicaps that would have discouraged anybody, then handed in his resignation. Wallace, who started the year at the helm again in St. Louis, cheerfully handed over the management to Stovall, who had been transplanted into the Mound City in the hope of making Davis' task easier in Cleveland. Stovall made the Browns a hard team to beat and had the mild satisfaction of hoisting them out of the cellar which they had occupied for the better part of three seasons.
An unpleasant feature of the season, but one which had beneficial results, was the strike of the Detroit players, entailing the staging of a farcical game in Philadelphia between the Athletics and a team of semi-professionals. This incident grew out of an attack on a New York spectator by Ty Cobb while in uniform and the immediate suspension of the player for an indefinite period.
The prompt and unyielding stand taken by President Johnson against the action of the Detroit players and the diplomatic efforts of President Navin of that club averted serious or extended trouble and undoubtedly furnished a warning against any similar act in the near future. Another, excellent result was the effort made by club owners to prevent the abuse of the right of free speech by that small element of the game's patronage which finds its greatest joy in abusing the players, secure in the knowledge that it is practically protected from personal injury in retaliation.
In the development of new players of note the league enjoyed an average season, and a considerable amount of new blood was injected into the game in the persons of players who made good without attracting freakish attention. The rise of the Washington team from seventh to second place brought its youngsters into the limelight prominently, and of these Foster and Moeller were commended highly. Gandil, who had his second tryout in fast company, plugged the hole at first base which had worried Washington managers for some time. Shanks also made a reputation for himself as a fielder. These men were helped somewhat by the showing of their team, but the case of Gandil would have been notable In any company. His first advent into the majors with the White Sox showed him to be an exceedingly promising player, but for some reason his work fell off until he was discarded into the International League. There he quickly recovered his stride and, when he did come back shortly after the season opened last spring, he demonstrated that he had the ability to hit consistently and proved a tower of strength to Griffith's team.
Baumgardner of the St. Louis Browns was an example of a youngster making good in spite of comparatively poor company. His pitching record with a team which finished in seventh place stamps him as one of the best, if not the best, of the slab finds of the year. Jean Dubuc of Detroit was another find of rare value and still another was Buck O'Brien of Boston, but these had the advantage over Baumgardner of getting better support both in the field and at bat. O'Brien in particular was fortunate to break in with a championship team.
The White Sox introduced three youngsters who made good and promise to keep on doing so. Two of them, George Weaver and Morris Rath, started the season with Chicago and the third, Baker Borton, joined the team late in the summer. Still later Kay Schalk started in to make what looks like a name for himself as a catcher.
* * * * *
No better illustration of the slight difference between a pennant winning machine and a losing team in the American League has occurred recently than the Boston Red Sox furnished last year. It did not differ materially from the team of 1910 which compelled the use of the nickname "Speed Boys." Jake Stahl was a member of that team, and except for the absence of Stahl in 1911, the champions of 1912 were composed of practically the same men who finished in the second division only the year before. But for the showing of 1910 the whole credit for last season's transformation might be attributed to Manager Stahl. Much of it unquestionably is his by right, and there is no intent here to deprive him of any of the high honors he achieved.
To Stahl's arrangement of his infield probably is due much of the improvement in the team. The outfield trio of wonderful performers did not perform any more wonders last year than in the previous season, but what had been holes on the infield were plugged tightly. Many looked askance when Larry Gardner, supposedly a second baseman, was assigned to third, but the results more than justified the move, and it made room at second for Yerkes, a player who had proved only mediocre on the other side of the diamond. This switch and the return of Stahl, who is a grand mark to throw at on first base, gave the infield the same dash and confidence as the outfield possessed, and the addition of some pitching strength in Bedient and O'Brien did the rest. It is the ability to discover just the right combination that differentiates the real manager from the semi-failure.
The Red Sox were in the race from the start, but they were eclipsed for a time by the White Sox. In spite of that the Bostonians never faltered but kept up a mighty consistent gait all the way and wore down all competitors before the finish. Stahl's men never were lower than second place in the race with the exception of three days early in May. when Washington poked its nose in front of the Red Sox and started after the White Sox, only to be driven back into third place by the men of Callahan themselves. For more than a week in April Boston was in the lead. Then Chicago went out and established a lead so long that it lasted until near the middle of June. Boston attended strictly to its knitting, however. Without stopping in their steady stride, the Red Sox hung on, waiting for the Callahans to slump. When their chance came in June the Bostonians jumped into the lead—June 10 was the exact date—and never thereafter did they take any team's dust.
By the Fourth of July Boston had a lead of seven games over the Athletics. The Red Sox kept right along at their even gait and a month later were leading by the same margin over Washington, which had displaced the former champions. On September 1 Boston's lead was thirteen games, but it was not until September 18 that the American League pennant was actually cinched beyond the possibility of losing it.
All season Stahl's men were known as a lucky ball team. Delving into the files for the dope, revealed the fact that the newspaper reports of about every third game they played on the average contained some reference to "Boston's luck." This does not detract anything from their glory. No team ever won a major league pennant unless it was lucky. No team ever had as steady a run of luck as Boston enjoyed in 1912, unless that team made a lot of its own luck by persistently hammering away when luck was against it and keeping ever on the alert to take advantage of an opening.
That is the explanation of the unusual consistency that marked the work of the Red Sox all season and the fact they did not experience a serious slump. In the first month of the season they won twelve games and lost eight. The second month of the race was their poorest one—the nearest they came to a slump. In that month they won eight and lost ten games. In the third month Boston won twenty-three and lost seven games. The fourth month saw them win twenty games and lose eight and in the fifth month their record was twenty victories and five defeats. In the final stages of the race the Red Sox were not under as strong pressure from behind and naturally did not travel as fast after sighting the wire, but the figures produced explain why Boston won the pennant. It started well and kept going faster until there was no longer need for speed. The annexation of the world's championship in a record breaking world's series with the New York Giants was a fitting climax to their season's achievement.
* * * * *
When Clark Griffith stalked through the west on his first invasion of the season with a team of youngsters, some of them practically unknown, and declared he was going after the pennant, everybody laughed or wanted to. A few weeks later everybody who had laughed was sorry, and those who only wanted to laugh were glad they didn't. For Griffith kept his men keyed up to the fighting pitch during the greater part of the season, and when they did start slumping in September, he made a slight switch on his infield, applied the brakes and started them going up again. The result was that Washington finished second for the first time in its major league history, winning that position in the closing days of the race after a bitter tussle with the passing world's champions.
The acquisition of Gandil from Montreal plugged a hole at first base which had defied the efforts of several predecessors to stop and it helped make a brilliant infield, for it gave the youngsters something they were not afraid to throw at. In giving credit for the work of Griffith's infield, the inclination is to overestimate the worth of the new stars. But there was a tower of strength at short in George McBride, who has been playing steadily and consistently at that position for several seasons without being given one-tenth the credit his work has merited.
The Washington team at one time or another occupied every position in the race except the first and last. The Senators were in seventh place for a few days in the opening weeks of the season, but not anywhere nearly as long as they were in second place later on. They climbed out of the second division by rapid stages and after May 1 they were driven back into it only once during the rest of the year. That was for three days in the beginning of June. In the meantime they had knocked Boston out of second place for a short while in May and, most of the way, had enjoyed a close fight with Philadelphia for third and fourth spots. Near the middle of June, after the Red Sox had ousted their White namesakes from first place, the Senators also passed Chicago and started after Boston. But the youngsters were not yet hardened to the strain and soon fell back to third and fourth. On July 5 Washington went into second place and held onto it, with the exception of three days, for a period of two months. September brought a slump and Griffith's men surrendered the runner-up position to the Athletics for about two weeks, then came back and took it away from the Mackmen at the end.
* * * * *
What happened to the world's champion Athletics the public did not really know until after the middle of the season. Then the suspensions of Chief Bender and Rube Oldring blazoned the fact that Manager Mack's splendid system of handling a Base Ball team by moral suasion had fallen down in the face of overconfidence and too much prosperity. Few people saw any reason for changing their belief in the prowess of the Athletics during the first half of the season, because they were in as good position most of the time as they had been the year previous at the same stage of the race. They were expected to make the same strong finish that swept everything before it in 1911. Not until the second half of the season was well under way did the adherents of the Mackmen give up the battle.
Philadelphia's sterling young infield seemed to stand up all right all the year, but the outfield and the slab staff gave Connie Mack sleepless nights. When Dan Murphy was injured in Chicago in June it was discovered what he had meant to the team. Dan was what the final punch is to a boxing star. His timely batting was missed in knocking out opponents, and the injury kept him out all the rest of the season. The strain which Jack Coombs gave his side in the world's series of 1911 proved more serious and lasting than was expected, and if Eddie Plank had not come back into grand form it would have been a tougher season than it was for the Athletics.
The Mackmen made a bad beginning for champions, and on May 1 were in the second division. During all of May and part of June they climbed into the first division and fell out of it with great regularity. Not until near the middle of June did the Athletics gain a strangle hold on the upper half of the league standing, from that time on they kept above the .500 mark, and toward the end of June they met the White Sox coming back. There was a short scuffle during the early part of July among the Athletics, Senators and White Sox for the possession of the position next to Boston. Then Chicago was pushed back, leaving Philadelphia and Washington to fight it out the rest of the way. Trimming the Phillies four out of five games in their city series did not lessen the gloom of the Athletics.
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The White Sox by their meteoric career demonstrated the value of good condition at the start. Although the Chicagoans experienced tough weather in Texas last spring they fared better than any of the other teams in their league, and that fact, combined with the readiness with which youth gets into playing trim, enabled the White Sox to walk through the early weeks of their schedule with an ease that astonished everybody. Even prophets who were friendly to them had expected no such showing. So fast did the Callahans travel that on May 3 they had lost only four games, having won thirteen in that time. But Boston was hanging on persistently. Chicago's margin over the Red Sox varied from four to five and a half games; during May, on the fourteenth of that month the White Sox had won twenty-one games and lost only five, giving them the percentage of .808. During part of this time they were on their first invasion of the east. May 18 saw the Chicago men five and a half games in the lead and their constituents were dreaming of another world's pennant almost every night.
Even the doubters were beginning to believe Manager Callahan had found the right combination. Just then came the awakening. The luck which had been coming their way began breaking against them with remarkable persistency. Plays that had won game after game went wrong and youth was not resourceful enough to offset the breaks. The White Sox began to fall away fast in percentage, but managed to cling to the lead until June 10. Boston passed them right there and the Chicagoans kept on going.
By mid-season Manager Callahan was fighting to keep his men in the first division and their slump did not end until they landed in fifth place for a couple of days in August. Then in desperation Callahan began switching his line-up and by herculean effort—and the help of Ed Walsh—climbed back into the upper quartet and stuck there to the finish. It was a desperate remedy to take Harry Lord off third base, where he had played during most of his professional career, and try to convert him into an outfielder, a position in which he had had no experience at all. But Lord was too good an offensive player to take out of the game, in spite of his slump at third base, and he was willing to try the outfield. Results justified the move. Lord learned outfielding rapidly, and Zeider proved that third base was his natural position. The acquisition of Borton for first base enabled Callahan to put Collins in the outfield, and the White Sox in reality were a stronger team when they finished than when they started their runaway race in April. With one more reliable pitcher to take his turn regularly on the slab all season the White Sox would have kept in the race. Callahan's men made up for some of the disappointment they produced by beating the Cubs in a nine-game post-season series, after the Cubs had won three victories. Two of the nine games were drawn and one other went into extra innings, making a more extended combat than the world's series.
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Cleveland's 1912 experience was almost identical with that of 1911, even to swapping managers in mid-season. Harry Davis, for years first lieutenant to Connie Mack, took the management or the Naps under a severe handicap. He succeeded a temporary manager, George Stovall, who had made good in the latter half of the previous season, but who could not be retained without abrogating a previous agreement with Davis. The public did not take kindly to the situation when the Naps failed to get into the fight, and the new management had a pitching staff of youngsters with out much of a catching staff to help them out when in trouble.
The Cleveland team never was prominent in the race after the first fortnight, although it retained a respectable position at the top of the second division, with an occasional journey into the first division during the first month or six weeks. In the middle of June the Naps dropped back into sixth place, below Detroit, for a while, then took a brace and reclaimed the leadership of the second squad for part of July. Midway in August found Cleveland apparently anchored in sixth spot and, with the consent of the Cleveland club owners, Manager Davis resigned his position.
The management was given to Joe Birmingham, who took hold of it with enthusiasm but without experience, just as Stovall did the previous year. He infused new life into the team, shook it up a bit, and improved its playing so much that Cleveland passed Detroit before the end of the race, and was threatening to knock Chicago out of fourth place at one time. This would have happened but for the brace of the White Sox. Profiting by previous experience the club owners did not look around for a permanent manager until they saw what Birmingham could do, and in consequence were in position to offer him the leadership of the Naps for the season of 1913.
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What was left to Manager Jennings from the great Detroit team that had won three straight pennants was slowing up, with the exception of Tyrus Cobb, who has yet to reach the meridian of his career, and the Georgian got into trouble fairly early in the season, with the result that he was suspended for a considerable period. That and the strike of the Tigers in Philadelphia threw a monkey-wrench into the machinery, resulting in a tangle which Jennings was unable to straighten out all the season. There was a problem at first base which he had a hard time solving. The break in Del Gainor's wrist the season before had not mended as it should have done, and he was unable to play the position regularly. Moriarty was pressed into service there and did good work in an unfamiliar position; then the infield was shifted several times without marked benefit. Donovan, who had always been of great help on the slab in hot weather, was not equal to the task of another year and was made manager of the Providence team. Jean Dubuc was the only one of the young pitchers who proved a star, but his work kept the Tigers from being a lot more disappointing proposition than they were.
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St. Louis and New York were outclassed from the start. Two weeks after the season opened it was apparent they were doomed to fight it out for the last round on the ladder. That the Browns finally escaped the cellar in the closing days of the race was due largely to the efforts of Stovall, who was made manager to succeed Wallace near the middle of the season.
As early as the first of May it was seen the Browns and Yankees were destined to trail. The New York team quickly gravitated to the bottom. It started without the services of Catcher Eddie Sweeney, who held out for a larger salary, and it had a manager at the helm who was inexperienced in major league leadership. Not until April 24 did New York win a game and in that time it had lost seven straight, postponements accounting for the rest of the time.
St. Louis got a little better start and for a while was inclined to dispute sixth place with Detroit, but on May 1 the Browns found only New York between them and the basement. In the middle of May the Yankees passed St. Louis and ran seventh in the race until July. 4. But accident and injury, and the loss of Cree, shot the Yankees to pieces. For nearly six weeks, however, it was a battle royal between New York and St. Louis to escape the last hole, but in the middle of August the Yankees again established their superiority, retaining seventh place until after the middle of September. In the homestretch the new blood given Stovall enabled him to pull his men out of the last notch just before the schedule ran out. This feat was soon forgotten in the defeat of the Browns by the Cardinals in their post-prandial series for the championship of the Mound City.
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The year was not prolific of freak or record-breaking performances in the American League. Walter Johnson of Washington, and Joe Wood of Boston were credited with sixteen straight victories, which raised the American League record in that respect from fourteen straight, formerly held by Jack Chesbro of the Yankees. Mullin of Detroit and Hamilton of St. Louis added their names to the list of hurlers who have held opponents without a safe hit in nine innings. Mullin performed his hitless feat against St. Louis and Hamilton retaliated by holding Detroit without a safety. The number of games in which pitchers escaped with less than four hits against them was smaller than usual, however. There were only seventy-eight shut-out games recorded last season by comparison with the American League's record of 145.
The longest game of the younger league's season lasted nineteen innings, Washington defeating Philadelphia in that combat 5 to 4, and it was played late in September when the two teams were scrapping for second place. The American League record for overtime is twenty-four innings, held by Philadelphia and Boston. There were a lot of slugging games in 1912, but not as many as during the season of 1911. Philadelphia piled up the highest total, 25, in eight innings, but it was made against the semi-professional team which wore Detroit uniforms on the day the Tigers struck. The highest genuine total of hits was twenty-three, made by the Athletics against New York pitchers. The Athletics also run up the highest score of the league's season when they compounded twenty-four runs against Detroit In May.
The semi-monthly standing of the race by percentages follows:
STANDING OF CLUBS ON MAY 1. Club. Won. Lost. PC. Chicago 11 4 .733 Boston 9 5 .643 Washington 8 6 .615 Cleveland 7 6 .538 Athletics 7 7 .600 Detroit 6 10 .375 St. Louis 5 9 .357 New York 3 10 .231
STANDING OF CLUBS ON MAY 15.
Chicago 21 6 .778 Boston 16 8 .667 Washington 12 12 .500 Cleveland 11 11 .500 Detroit 13 14 .481 Athletics 10 12 .466 New York 6 15 .286 St. Louis 6 17 .261
STANDING OF CLUBS ON JUNE 1.
Chicago 29 12 .707 Boston 25 14 .641 Detroit 21 20 .512 Athletics 17 17 .500 Cleveland 18 19 .486 Washington 19 21 .476 New York 12 23 .343 St. Louis 12 27 .308
STANDING OF CLUBS ON JUNE 15.
Boston 33 19 .635 Chicago 33 21 .611 Washington 33 21 .611 Athletics 27 21 .563 Detroit 26 29 .473 Cleveland 23 28 .451 New York 17 31 .364 St. Louis 15 37 .288
STANDING OF CLUBS ON JULY 1.
Boston 47 21 .691 Athletics 39 25 .609 Chicago 38 28 .576 Washington 37 31 .551 Cleveland 33 38 .492 Detroit 33 36 .478 New York 18 44 .290 St. Louis 18 45 .288
STANDING OF CLUBS ON JULY 15.
Boston 56 26 .683 Washington 60 33 .602 Athletics 46 36 .668 Chicago 44 35 .567 Cleveland 42 42 .500 Detroit 40 43 .488 New York 22 53 .298 St. Louis 22 56 .282
STANDING OF CLUBS ON AUGUST 1.
Boston 67 31 .684 Washington 61 37 .622 Athletics 55 41 .573 Chicago 49 36 .516 Detroit 48 42 .485 Cleveland 45 43 .464 New York 31 53 .333 St. Louis 30 56 .312
STANDING OF CLUBS ON AUGUST 15.
Boston 76 34 .691 Athletics 66 43 .606 Washington 67 44 .604 Chicago 54 55 .495 Detroit 55 58 .487 Cleveland 51 59 .464 New York 36 73 .327 St. Louis 36 74 .321
STANDING OF CLUBS ON SEPTEMBER 1.
Boston 87 37 .702 Washington 77 49 .611 Athletics 73 50 .593 Chicago 62 61 .504 Detroit 57 70 .449 Cleveland 54 71 .432 New York 45 78 .366 St. Louis 43 82 .344
STANDING OF CLUBS ON SEPTEMBER 15.
Boston 97 39 .713 Athletics 81 56 .591 Washington 82 57 .590 Chicago 67 69 .493 Detroit 64 75 .461 Cleveland 62 75 .453 New York 48 88 .353 St. Louis 47 89 .346
STANDING OF CLUBS ON OCTOBER 1.
Boston 103 48 .691 Washington 89 60 .567 Athletics 89 60 .567 Chicago 74 76 .493 Cleveland 72 77 .483 Detroit 69 80 .463 St. Louis 52 98 .347 New York 49 100 .329
STANDING OF CLUBS AT CLOSE OF SEASON
Bos. Wash. Ath. Chic. Clev. Det. S.L. N.Y. Won PC Boston — 12 15 16 11 15 17 19 105 .691 Washington 10 — 7 13 18 14 14 15 91 .599 Athletics 7 18 — 10 14 13 16 17 99 .592 Chicago 6 9 12 — 11 14 13 13 78 .506 Cleveland 11 4 8 11 — 13 15 13 75 .490 Detroit 6 8 9 8 9 — 13 16 69 .451 St. Louis 5 8 6 9 7 9 — 9 58 .344 New York 3 7 5 9 8 6 13 — 50 .329 — — — — — — — — Lost 47 61 62 76 78 84 101 102
STANDING OF CLUBS AT CLOSE OF SEASON.
N.Y. Pitts.Chi. Cin. Phil.St.L. Bkln. Bos. Won. PC.
New York — 12 9 16 17 15 16 18 103 .682 Pittsburgh 8 — 13 11 14 15 14 18 93 .616 Chicago 13 8 — 11 10 15 17 17 91 .607 Cincinnati 6 11 10 — 8 13 16 11 75 .498 Philadelphia 5 8 10 14 — 11 13 12 73 .480 St. Louis 7 7 7 9 11 — 10 12 63 .412 Brooklyn 6 8 5 6 9 11 — 13 58 .379 Boston 3 4 6 11 10 10 9 — 52 .340 — — — — — — — — — —— Lost 48 58 59 78 79 90 95 101
The Chicago-Pittsburgh game at Chicago, October 2, was protested by the Pittsburgh club and thrown out of the records, taking a victory from the Chicago club and a defeat from the Pittsburgh club.
CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS IN PREVIOUS YEARS.
1871- Athletics .759 1885- Chicago .770 1899- Brooklyn .682 1872- Boston .830 1886- Chicago .726 1900- Brooklyn .603 1873- Boston .729 1887- Detroit .637 1901- Pittsburgh .647 1874- Boston .717 1888- New York .641 1902- Pittsburgh .741 1875- Boston .899 1889- New York .659 1903- Pittsburgh .650 1876- Chicago .788 1890- Brooklyn .667 1904- New York .693 1877- Boston .646 1891- Boston .630 1905- New York .668 1878- Boston .683 1892- Boston .680 1906- Chicago .765 1879- Providence .702 1893- Boston .667 1907- Chicago .704 1880- Chicago .798 1894- Baltimore .695 1908- Chicago .643 1881- Chicago .667 1895- Baltimore .669 1909- Pittsburgh .724 1882- Chicago .655 1896- Baltimore .698 1910- Chicago .676 1883- Boston .643 1897- Boston .795 1911- New York .647 1884- Providence .750 1898- Boston .685
Following are the Official Batting Averages of National League players who participated in any manner in at least fifteen championship games during the season of 1912:
Name and Club G. A.B. R. H. T.B. 2B 3B HR SH SB PC Zimmerman, Chicago 145 557 95 207 318 41 14 14 18 23 .372 Meyers, New York 126 371 60 133 177 16 5 6 9 8 .358 Sweeney, Boston 153 593 84 204 264 81 13 1 33 27 .344 Evers, Chicago 143 478 73 163 211 23 11 1 14 16 .341 Bresnaban, St. Louis 48 108 8 36 50 7 2 1 — 4 .333 McCormick, New York 42 39 4 13 19 4 1 — — 1 .333 Doyle, New York 143 558 98 184 263 33 8 10 13 36 .330 Kuisely, Cincinnati 21 67 10 22 35 7 8 — 1 3 .328 Lobert, Philadelphia 65 257 37 84 112 12 5 2 10 13 .327 Wiltse, New York 28 46 5 15 17 2 — — 1 1 .326 Wagner, Pittsburgh 145 558 91 181 277 36 20 7 11 26 .324 Hendrix, Pittsburgh 46 121 25 39 64 10 6 1 2 1 .322 Kirke, Boston 103 359 53 115 146 11 4 4 9 7 .320 Kelly, Pittsburgh 48 132 20 42 52 3 2 1 7 8 .318 Marsans, Cincinnati 110 416 59 132 168 19 7 1 9 35 .317 Kling, Boston 81 252 26 80 102 10 3 2 7 8 .317 Donlin, Pittsburgh 77 244 27 77 108 9 8 2 10 8 .316 Stengel, Brooklyn 17 57 9 38 22 1 — 1 1 5 .316 Paskert, Philadelphia 145 540 102 170 221 38 5 1 11 35 .315 Konetchy, St. Louis 143 538 81 169 245 26 13 8 17 35 .314 Crandall, New York 50 80 9 25 25 6 2 — 3 — .313 Titus, Philadelphia-Boston 141 502 99 155 224 32 11 5 15 11 .309 Merkle, New York 129 479 82 148 215 22 6 11 8 37 .309 Daubert, Brooklyn 145 559 81 173 232 19 16 3 14 39 .308
W. Miller, Chicago 86 241 45 74 93 11 4 — 8 11 .307 S. Magee, Phila 132 464 79 142 203 25 9 6 29 30 .306 Wheat, Brooklyn 123 453 70 138 204 28 7 8 7 16 .305 Huggins, St. Louis 120 431 82 131 154 15 4 — 11 35 .304 Carey, Pittsburgh 150 587 114 177 231 23 8 5 37 45 .302 Edington, Pittsburgh 15 53 4 16 20 — 2 — 3 — .302 Simon, Pittsburgh 42 113 10 34 38 2 1 — — 1 .301